The Petchary is the Jamaican name for the Gray Kingbird (Tyrannus dominicennis) - a summer visitor to the island.  Its name echoes its strident cry.  Sometimes called the Storm Bird, it will sing all night, and chase away John Crows.  “That ceaseless shriek”…These are the cries of the Petchary, who currently resides in Kingston, Jamaica.

For more about me, please look me up on LinkedIn (Emma Lewis) which tells you all you need to know (and probably too much). The basic information is that I am a writer, social media activist (find me on Twitter @Petchary) and NGO supporter/board member. I am London-born, an Oxford graduate with a Jamaican husband and a World-Citizen son.


  1. Welcome Emma to the world of blogging!!! :-)
    I must comment on your “image of the day”… In the midst of what may be turmoil or a sense of unease, the picture in my mind symbolizes hope of what can be… That patch of darkness to the north is somehow hidden by possibilities coloured with shades of blue and shades of white.
    The galaxy? The earth? The ocean? Simply possibilities:-)

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment, Rob! I am also enjoying your blog and my husband and I were awestruck by your photography. Please continue reading and leaving comments…I will be writing about the Gulf of Mexico nightmare again tomorrow, I think! Let’s keep in touch! Emma (the Petchary)

    • Hi, I was doing some research on Chinese dissidents and found this photo on a “Boston Globe” website remembering Tiananmen Square 20 years later. The caption to the photo is: “Ding Zilin, mother of 17-year-old pro-democracy demonstrator Jiang Jielian who was killed during the 1989 army crackdown on Tiananmen protesters, weeps as she talks about the event in her Beijing flat during an interview on April 7, 2009. Twenty years on, Ding’s pain is still as raw as it was when her son was shot through the heart in the army crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters in China, an event that she says broke her.” (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images) However, I found it on a different website and did not know there was copyright on it… It’s PETER PARKS OF AFP (AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE). I hope this helps.

  2. Hi Petchary,
    I live in New Zealand and i am doing an essay at the moment on use of colours in geographic information systems .. just a little about my essay .. now, the colours that we use on maps are mostly influenced by the western culture symbolising their values and how and why they associate certain colours with information displayed on the maps (brown for land, green for vegetation, blue for sea, red for warm, blue for cool etc) .. i want to show from my essay that when we are working with different cultures of people and doing research on their aspects of life and values then we should use colours that are significant to these cultures and not our western dominant colours .. i am not trying to undermine the western culture here but trying to priviledge the cultures that have sound values and systems like the western culture .. just because the foundations of Geog info systems is western .. it does not mean that we cannot incorporate other cultural values systems into gis .. i am focussing on the indigenous cultures because there is a lot of research being done on them and most so called experts or researchers like me are outsiders (not from that group) .. just the thought of the topic is challenging .. but i want to do this …
    would you have some information on this ? would u be able to help me out with anything on this?
    let me know …
    thanks in advance

    • Hi Seema: Thanks for getting in touch from the other side of the world, and for subscribing to my blog. It always gives me a thrill to get a new subscriber! Wow, that’s quite a topic, I am still tossing it around in my head. I wonder if other colors are used here in Jamaica – but we are very aware of color – we paint our offices and houses green, purple, bright orange! I know very little about GIS systems but I do know a firm called Mona Geoinformatics Institute, based on our University of the West Indies campus, who work with GIS all day long… You can find them at http://www.monagis.com/. In fact, we have our own GIS company, JamNav. You can find out more at their website and the head is Dr. Parris Lyew-Ayee. I am sure they would be able to help! Good luck with your research, and I hope this will be of some assistance. Meanwhile do continue reading my blog and making comments if you wish – I love comments! Thanks, Emma

    • Hi Seema from ecomantra echos,

      Perhaps you could look into the area of comparative cartography, comparative language and cultural studies, traditional ecological knowledge, and also anthropological, neuro-scientific, biocultural investigations into the cultural coding and classification of colours, patterns and eco-geographical elements.

  3. Pingback: The Versatile Blogger! « ayooutloud

  4. WELL DONE! Emma, and I thought I was your only viewer from Sweden, but clearly the data shows (2012 WordPress Report – 778 views) that there are others here. Even I don’t look twice a day every day! Come on Ja-Sweden lovers reveal yourselves to me!

    • Ha ha!! Thank you so much, John! No, isn’t it amazing. I was stunned to see that I have had views from such far-flung places as the Congo, even! No, all those Swedish views can’t be just you, devoted reader though you are!! ;-) Hopefully they will emerge from the shadows and identify themselves! Warmest wishes to you and your family for 2013!

  5. Stumbled on to your blog while looking for some information on Mustard Seed Communities in Kingston. Our university is bringing some students down to help out there in March after our school pulled the plug on our trip to El Salvador because of increased risk of violence. Our students are looking for information on what the needs are in Jamacia. Anyplace you can suggest I go?

    • If you want to know what the needs are here, I would suggest you contact Father Gregory Ramkissoon directly at Mustard Seed. They are a very worthy organization who do fantastic work but probably have their specific needs. You should also get advice on bringing in goods though, as there are a lot of issues regarding the red tape. Mustard Seed would be able to provide or you could bring things in via Food for the Poor, who are Miami-based, for example. Good luck and enjoy your trip to Jamaica!

  6. I am the coordinator for the Delta Upsilon trips and would love to talk to you more about what we are doing in your country. I am in Jamaica right now with another group of men and we are working more on our project at Gordon’s Early Childhood by Sav la Mar. Thanks for the mention in the blog. Very cool.

    • Hello Kaye! Lovely to hear from you. I would love to talk to you. Don’t want to post my number online but you can reach me at petchary@gmail.com. You’re so welcome! I was browsing and that lovely photo caught my eye. I think in the blog said they were doing a kind of rotation. I live in Kingston but would love to write something about the work you are all doing. Look forward to hearing from you!

  7. Hi,

    Healthline recently partnered with the Timothy Ray Brown Foundation (TRBF) to launch “You’ve Got This” – a video campaign that encourages HIV patients to give hope and advice to the recently diagnosed. For every video created, Healthline will donate $10 to the TRBF towards finding a cure. Initial participants include Jack Mackenroth, Olympian Ji Wallace, Paul Lekakis, Josh Robbins, and Kevin Maloney.

    We would love if you could help us spread the word about the campaign by sharing with your friends, followers and/or posting to your website or blog. For more information, please visit: http://www.healthline.com/health/hiv-aids/youve-got-this and https://www.facebook.com/TheNewFaceofHIV

    Thank you in advance for your support and please let me know if you have any questions.

    Warm Regards,


  8. Love your blog. It is everything I would hope my blog could be, if I were ever to start one. Your listing of the Jamaicans killed every week really resonates with me. I once had the idea of starting a “Right to Life” website, which would track all Jamaicans killed, in whatever circumstances. It would have photos and some details to highlight their humanity, and follow up on the aftermath – investigations, and (where appropriate) arrests, prosecution, conviction & sentencing. After all, our govt has obligations to protect the right to life by both “negatively” and “positively” – not only should it *refrain* from killing us illegally, but it also should properly investigate and prosecute murders. It is failing on both counts. BTW, I saw in one post you called “YOU” “Youth Opportunities Limited”. In fact, it is “Youth Opportunities UNlimited”.

    • Narda, thank you so very much. I am not quite sure why I started keeping this record. I suppose it dawned on me that Jamaican men, women and children were losing their lives in this way – a continuous flow almost, just in the background. Without anyone taking much notice, unless it is something that the media choose to dwell on because it is “uptown,” or a well-known person, or there is something sensational about it. I think the idea of a “Right to Life” website is brilliant… I try to find photos but there are very few in the local media. They are just names and numbers. Yes, I believe the primary responsibility of any government is to protect our lives and keep us safe. The lack of proper investigation and prosecution of murders is of course one of the factors in our high murder rate. OH! Thanks for the correction! No one else spotted my error about YOU. (Brain has not been functioning too well, due to the flu!) Thanks again for your kind comments…

  9. Looking at your picture of Cross Roads, I’ll note that I’m one person who’s often taking pictures of life going on in Kingston, and anywhere, as I see it. Haven’t figured out how to share those other than to keep posting on FB. Just getting into Flickr, so that may be better.

  10. Hey Petchary, really great blog! I was looking for some Jamaican bloggers, to hear more about the place I lived and my daughter’s birth place. Nice nice! Any other Jamaican, or Caribbean bloggers, please contact me too!

  11. Hi Mrs. Lewis, you have a really great blog. I’m working on a project about Logistics Hubs and your articles on the Goat Islands were quite extensive and pleasant to read. I was wondering if there was anyway to get in direct contact with you? It would be in relation to a science journal my business is working on. My email is: r-g-veda@hotmail.com. If this is too personal, you can delete this comment but I’d really like to get in contact with you to talk further.

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